Antoine Jonquière

November 10, 2020

In search of what it is that makes the youth of Ghana unique, Antoine Jonquière produced touching and unadulterated portraits, that underline the country’s paradoxical relationship with tradition and modernity.
LFI: Please explain what your project is about.
Antoine Jonquière: Sankofa is a series of portraits focusing on Ghana’s youth. While spending time in the country in 2018, I became increasingly interested in the relationship that younger Ghanaians have with traditional ways of life, and how the zeitgeist of the post-millenium era in which they were born, often seems to be in drastic conflict with their cultural heritage.

You describe the often paradoxical relationship between tradition and modernity in Ghana. Could you explain this in more detail?
Ghana is a country with a complex diversity of cultural identities. There are over 100 ethnic groups and nine language family groups, of which 11 languages are officially sponsored by the government. Each ethnic group carries a strong system of beliefs, habits and cultural traditions, which inform all aspects of daily life, while the younger generation belongs to a different world in which speed, technological improvements, economic growth, and modern thinking prevail, and often clash with traditional values and ways of life.

What was your photographic approach for this project?
Minimal and straightforward. I wanted the subjects to think of the camera as a mirroring tool reflecting and questioning their identity, their doubts and hopes.

Your pictures show unique characters set in beautiful surroundings. How did you find your subjects?
Randomly. I travelled and walked a lot, mostly in southern Ghana. It is a long-term project, and I hope to go back to photograph youngsters from the northern part of the country. Each portrait is the result of a natural encounter.

How did you get into photography in general and the world of Leica photography in particular?
Through photography books, a deep passion for travel and, ultimately, photographic studies. I’ve always been particularly interested in social documentary photography, and often found myself in situations where I wanted to be quick, discreet, and connected; thus the world of Leica imposed itself naturally and has since become a central pillar of my practice.
Danilo Rößger
ALL IMAGES ON THIS PAGE: © Antoine Jonquière
EQUIPMENT: Leica M-P (Typ 240) with Summicron-M 35 f/2 Asph

Antoine Jonquière+-

© Astrid Öhnfeldt
©  Astrid Öhnfeldt

Antoine Jonquière is a French documentary and portrait photographer based in Marseille, France. Driven by research-led, self-initiated projects, his work often explores countries and cultures through the relationship existing between tradition and modernity. He has documented Tamil palm wine collectors in northern Sri Lanka, young boxers in Accra, Ghana, and is currently working on a documentary about Swahili identity in Zanzibar, Tanzania. His work has been featured in GEO Magazine, Photo Vogue, Suitcase, and Gestalten. More